Monday, December 29, 2008
This past weekend I was honored to once again appear on Tim Skubick's 'Off the Record' with Eric B. also of MichiganLiberal and two bloggers from the Right.
We taped the episode a week in advance, so I completely forgot it aired on the 26th until I got admonished by my mother for not letting her know. :-)
If you're so inclined to watch, you can do so through WKAR's website, or download it as a podcast.
Enjoy and happy New Year!
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
The passing of House Bill 5046, the Restroom Access Bill. Otherwise known as the Bathroom Bill, the bill provides access to bathrooms in retail spaces, providing certain measures can be met by the establishment, to those of us with medical conditions.
The LSJ's John Schneider did a piece this morning about it here. I'd like to thank John personally for his advocacy on the issue.
A Christmas gift to those who gotta go when they gotta go ...
There were plenty of things state legislators should have done, but didn't do, in last week's lame-duck session.
But, in the words of Julielyn Gibbons - a Lansing woman who suffers from Crohn's disease - senators exhibited remarkable "common sense" in passing House Bill 5046, the restroom access bill.
In the wee hours of Friday morning, the bill was pronounced dead. According to Gibbons, a champion of the measure, it was resuscitated around 9 a.m.
Megan Brown, a spokeswoman for Gov. Jennifer Granholm, said Monday the governor intends to sign the bill into law.
And thus compassion and decency - as it applies to this one aspect of human existence, anyway - will be the law of the land.
Introduced as a bill by State Rep. Andy Meisner (D-Ferndale), the law will require retail establishments with employees only bathrooms to open them to people with illnesses that necessitate immediate access to toilets.
Those folks will carry written proof from their doctors, and present it in emergencies.
The law, which also protects retailers from liability, will take effect in 90 days.
It's meant to help people with Crohn's, ulcerative colitis, inflammatory bowel disease, pregnant women, etc.
Said Gibbons: "I think it's a real victory for those of us with medical conditions that kept us at home. It's another step forward for civil rights."
Last month I wrote about a woman with diabetes who suffered a humiliating accident after a clerk at Williams-Sonoma at the Eastwood Towne Center refused to let the woman use the store's bathroom.
A big thanks also to all of you who called and emailed on behalf of the issue, and to the Lansing-based Rossman Group, for their pro-bono work on the effort.
This is why those of us in politics keep doing what we do, because every so often, something good happens as a result.
Wednesday, December 17, 2008
We all cut back, tighten the old belt, don't open our wallets quite as often or as wide as before. Sometimes that means cutting back at the grocery store, right now I'm guessing the pile under you Christmas tree will look a little slimmer than years past, as will mine.
But what I'm curious to know is - how has the downward trend in the economy affected the options that you make for yourself in health care?
Do you try to cut back on the number of doctor appointments? Are you trying to make your prescription medicines and nutritional supplements last longer? Have you stopped taking certain meds/supplements?
Has it changed the way you plan for your family, in regards to having children, or how you budget for meals/vacations/gifts/clothes/etc for your family and children?
Similarly, how has the economy affected your health care plan? Has your employer changed plans or stop providing health care?
All information shared will be kept strictly confidential, and you can either leave your responses as a comment, or you can email them directly to me - liberallucy[at]gmail[dot]com
For full-disclosure, my curiosity stems from a discussion I've been having with several fellow female political bloggers on how a poor economy affects healthcare options.
Thanks in advance for your participation!
Tuesday, December 16, 2008
If you've been following along over at MichLib, you heard me share how this holiday is going to be a bit different for my family, as I'm sure it will millions others. Tightening the belt doesn't even begin to describe how many Michiganders are going to juggle a failing economy and the holiday.
With last week's bailout-killing vote by the U.S. Senate Republicans, I was more than mad, I was furious, and frustrated, and sad. I'm not sure what to expect, other than to pray that our entire state doesn't go belly up. I don't think I'm any different than most Michiganders right now. I do feel fortunate that I'm not trying to raise a young family in these tough times, because I simply do not know how I'd ever do it.
Looking past the initial impact of the vote, I took a stab in the dark trying to predict the fallout for Republicans in the coming months and years, particularly here in this state. Survey says: It can't be good.
Either way, I'm trying to find that cheer that usually just automatically comes with the season, but no surprise, this year is proving harder to find it than others.
Here's hoping tomorrow brings more hope, more joy, and more optimism, God knows we can use it.
Tuesday, December 09, 2008
While I've been away, I've collected a smattering of fun/interesting/worthwhile links that I encourage you to check out and support with your voice, or even just a click or two.
Of course, I have to give credit to some of my favorite bloggers, Lex at 60 Second Blog and Christine at My Library Ideas for these great links and also encourage you to stop by and give them a read as well.
- Help starving Cats (FreeKibbleKat.com)
- Help starving dogs (FreeKibble.com)
- Help starving people (UN World Food Program)
- Save/Support your local museum (American Association of Museums)
- Catch up on recipes and ideas from the family farm (Letters from a Hill Farm)
Stay tuned as I share thoughts and opinions on what the holidays in Michigan mean to us, and probably most of the rest of the state.
Till then, happy Tuesday!
Wednesday, November 05, 2008
Prop 2 passes
Prop 1 passes
Progressives sweep the State House
Diane Hathaway unseats Cliff Taylor for State Supreme Court
Oakland County elects a Democratic Prosecutor, Treasurer
Amazing, amazing, just amazing.
To all of you out there who helped all of us make Proposal 2 a reality, thank you from the bottom of my heart!!
Monday, November 03, 2008
Did we reach enough voters? Did we dispel the lies? Did we quiet the fear? Did we touch enough lives?
In my never-ending desire to do more and be more, the quiet answer comes from a far corner in my mind "hopefully" but based on the overall weariness and exhaustion that I physically feel, I know it is really a resounding 'yes'. And I have to be satisfied with that.
So on this election eve, I'm reminded of two seemingly separate but very connected things.
1) This blog is now 2 years (and almost a month) old.
2) Today would have been my grandmother's 93rd birthday.
So why, on the night before such an important day does this matter?
I started this blog way back in 2006 because I wanted to share forward-thinking ideas for our state, and more specifically the mid-Michigan area.
So if you haven't already figured it out - this blog is about how we become closer as a community, stronger as a state, and more invested as global players. You might hear a lot on elections, healthcare, education, the economy, and like any good liberal, I hug a tree or two. Regardless the topic, this blog is bigger than me or my dreams. It's about Michigan, and how we as a community realize our hopes and dreams into a reality for our great state.
In the two years between now and then, that hasn't changed. A lot of other things have changed, but it's still what I believe in and work towards every day.
My grandmother is a big reason why I work so hard each day for justice and rights for all of us. I miss her as much as I did when we first lost her to ALS over 4 years ago. She was a fighter, and each day as I start the day, I'm reminded of her, and all the adversity she over came to fight for others. She's also a big part of why I'm so passionate about Proposal 2 passing.
Like I've said before, I have so much invested in this fight tomorrow. It's so personal, it's so raw, and the very idea that people and an organized faith would work so hard and spend so much money to fight against giving hope to people who suffer as I do and as my grandmother did is at it's very nature offensive. Don't we all deserve at the very least a hope for a good quality of life?
Please, go out and vote, and vote Yes on Proposal 2.
Thursday, October 30, 2008
There's a great story in this morning's LSJ and Detroit Free Press about a brother and sister in St. Johns that are literally struggling to save their family's mint farm from being foreclosed. It also happens to be the country's oldest mint farm.
ST. JOHNS - Jim Crosby's voice chokes with emotion when he talks about the oldest mint farm in the country, a 140-acre patch of fragrant green about 15 miles north of Lansing that's been in Crosby's family for four generations.
He and his sister Linette Crosby, who co-owns the property, are desperately trying to sell 70,000 bottles of farm-distilled peppermint and spearmint oil by Saturday.
If they don't raise $348,000 by then, their lender has the right to confiscate the oil and their farm equipment, effectively ending the family business.
"That oil is our hope," Jim Crosby said Wednesday. "In each bottle is all my hope, my dreams and my prayers."
We can do this, people! Please, stop by their website, and spare $5, $10, $35 or as much as you can give. I'm off to buy mine now! (due to high traffic, the website maybe a little slow, but patience, it's worth it!)
Tuesday, October 28, 2008
Watch this, send it to every registered Michigan voter and tell them why YOU are voting on Proposal 2.
Monday, October 27, 2008
I am constantly awed by the amazing people that I am blessed to meet along this journey. We're brought together by pain and suffering, and I think it's safe to say that we all feel lucky to be able to channel that through working towards something that could benefit so many of us. All we can do is pray that Michigan voters give us an opportunity to hope by passing Proposal 2.
I was invited to write a piece for RH Reality Check about why Michigan needs embryonic stem cell research. RH Reality Check is a nationally-recognized site for reproductive health issues (hence the "RH") with a large audience. I hope that my piece can be used to sway some more Michigan voters in favor of saying YES on Prop 2.
This weekend my column also ran in the Lansing State Journal, coming days after the LSJ endorsed the proposal, along with the Flint Journal, Ann Arbor News, Jackson Citizen Patriot, and many other media outlets. What great news!!!
If you're already planning on saying Yes on Prop 2, will send you a brief email to everyone you know in Michigan and share with them your personal story why you're voting Yes? Personal stories of hope and even pain are what can bring us together and defeat the messages of fear-mongering and deception that the opposition is banking on. Who knows, your email could be the difference between Prop 2 passing and not.
Please, say yes to Prop 2 and allow us all to have hope for cures and relief.
Friday, October 24, 2008
But there's still so much to do in those 11 short days, especially make sure we turn out the Yes vote on Proposal 2.
Here's Cure Michigan's latest ad, Clinics
These blogs are all proud to show their support for Prop 2, so please show them a little love and stop by to say hello -
The Trusty Getto (Ypsilanti)
Conservative Media (Livingston County)
60 Second Blog (Metro Detroit)
The Only Baggage You Can Bring (Metro Detroit)
West Michigan Rising (do I need to explain this?)
Blogging for Michigan (statewide)
The Enlightened Spartan (Go GREEN!)
Michigan Sports Center (Wolverines, the other white meat)
Got Detroit (In the 'D')
CureMichigan is also on Twitter, so be sure to follow them along as well.
Many thanks (again) to my family, who posted their first blog post ever yesterday at MichLib.
So please, keep spreading the word, passing the yard signs out, and of course - make sure to flip your ballot over on November 4th and vote YES on Proposal 2!
Tuesday, October 21, 2008
Most of you have probably already seen Laura Jackson's ad on tv. We need to make sure that every Michigan voter has the chance to hear her story and understand why voting YES on Proposal 2 is so important. We can make this happen by donating to the campaign today.
Also, if you give to the campaign before midnight tonight, your gift will be doubled, thanks to a generous donor. Please give as much as you can today so we can keep these ads on the air. Perhaps you'd even be willing to give in honor or memory of someone you know whose live could be improved through the hope that embryonic stem cell research brings.
Are you a fellow blogger? You too can have this great blog widget located to the right to put on your blog to show your support of Prop 2, made by the good folks at Cure Michigan. Email me if you're interested.
And in the last bit of good news, I'm pleased as punch to see that the Lansing State Journal has endorsed Proposal 2, because they too recognize how much our state needs it.
Here's to you and yours and making it a day we can all be proud of!
Sunday, October 19, 2008
That being said, I've decided it's official - my governor could kick your governor's butt.
Today was the Detroit Free Press' 31st annual marathon. From one of their many stories on the event -
Starting anonymously with the 7,266 half marathoners was Gov. Jennifer Granholm, a rookie who ran with husband Dan Mulhern. She didn’t wear one of the shoelace tags that electronically records the start and finish time for each runner, but with a single security officer running alongside Granholm finished in 1:56:04, achieving her goal of breaking the two hour mark in her first long race (the same time as her husband, who did wear an electronic tag and waited to cross the lined with her after running a couple of minutes ahead during most of the event).The Freep's sports editor had an entire blog post devoted to the subject and here's a great photo of the Lady Gov as she celebrates with First Gentleman Dan Mulhern.
“I kept it real low-key because I was afraid I wouldn’t make it,” said Granholm, who wore blue running shorts, a black Barack Obama T-shirt and pearl earrings. “I didn’t want anyone to know I was here until I finished. It was a grueling experience, but because you’re out there with so many other people, and you’ve got the crowds cheering you on and clanging cowbells, it seems a lot shorter, like a 6-mile run.”
Like I said - my governor could kick your governor's butt. Gosh knows she already took care of that pesky woman from Wasilla in Joe Biden's debate prep!
Saturday, October 18, 2008
I've been doing plenty of outreach to friends, family, and acquaintances. I've written my fair share of blog posts, I've spoken with multiple media outlets and helped participate in a couple press conferences on the topic as well.
But it's more than just a need to see something positive happen for our state. It's a very personal issue, and the more I meet people around the state who are working just as hard as I am, the more I am touched by not only their dedication, but how much this means to them as well.
As I've said before, my case of Crohn's Disease is significantly more severe than most. While I'm now technically in remission, there's not much more than can be done surgically should my disease flare up again.
That being said, I truthfully do not know that I could personally benefit from an advancement in the research and understanding of my disease should it happen as a result of the passage of Proposal 2 to allow embryonic stem cell research in Michigan.
But that's okay.
What's not okay is the idea that today, tomorrow, this next week somewhere in this state, someone else is going to get the news that will turn their world upside down just like mine was almost 15 years ago.
They'll go through the pain of the disease, the frustration of learning about a disease of which they had probably never heard of, the anguish of discovering there is no known cure, and that as far as the medical community goes treatment is just a giant guessing game. And that's just for those who will share my illness.
There will be others like Laura from Livonia, someone who never got sick, but broke her neck during cheerleading tryouts and now lives her life in a wheelchair, paralyzed from the neck down.
Yesterday the two of us did a press conference to announce the release of an ad for the Cure Michigan folks featuring her, and afterward her father was interviewed. I felt my heart break as I heard him say "All I want is my daughter to be able to give me a hug again."
Saying no to Proposal 2 is telling Laura's father that he can't have hope that one day his 19 year-old daughter will be able to wrap her arms around him and show him how much he means to her. Do you want to be that person to say no?
At the very least, Proposal 2 is about hope. It's about taking something that's being thrown away in the trash and turning it into hope. With times like these, and with people like Laura, her father, and the countless others that you know that live with a chronic illness or injury, can't we all use a little hope?
(Yes on Prop 2 yard signs are now available. Email Minda at Cure Michigan for yours today. Picture swiped from photo-genius WizardKitten over at Blogging for Michigan.)
Saturday, October 11, 2008
Kudos to the Cure Michigan team for a fabulous event, and to everyone who came out to support the event. Of course, a very special thank you to this man whom I so admire for his continuing efforts towards a very worthy and necessary cause. I'll post more pictures later.
Wednesday, October 08, 2008
Imagine this: A terrible accident. A horrific diagnosis. A lifetime sentence of needles, medicine or expensive medical equipment. Even worse, a terminal illness.
These are the terrifying possibilities that may affect a friend, neighbor, a loved one -- even you. Every one of us is touched by devastating illnesses and conditions such as juvenile diabetes, cancer, Alzheimer's, Parkinson's disease, spinal cord injuries, Lou Gehrig's disease and auto-immune diseases.
For many of us, the best hope lies in stem cell research. But we need to explore all avenues of stem cell research -- from adult to embryonic stem cells.
That currently can't happen in Michigan, which is one of only five states that have the most severe restrictions on embryonic stem cell research. That's why it is important on Nov. 4 to approve Proposal 2.
My life took a gut-wrenching turn when I was 14 and diagnosed with Crohn's Disease, a little-understood illness that destroys the gastrointestinal system. There's no cure for it. The only treatment available to me is a regimen of regular surgeries and the steady removal of pieces of me.
Almost 15 years after my diagnosis, I'm missing entire portions of my body, including my colon and rectum. To stay alive and function, I spend $300 every month in ostomy supplies, among a long laundry list of needs that I'll live with for the rest of my life.
If I were to have children -- something I want -- I may pass this terrible disease down to them, and that's a choice that breaks my heart.
More than a million people across the nation have Crohn's. By engaging in all forms of stem cell research -- adult and embryonic -- researchers can better understand how to treat and hopefully cure patients suffering from diseases and injuries.
Unfortunately, this life-saving research can't be done in Michigan, which severely restricts embryonic stem cell research, one of the most promising areas of medical research. Under Michigan law, fertility clinics can throw away leftover unused embryos, but couples undergoing fertility treatments can't donate those embryos to researchers.
This is wrong. It shuts the door of hope to countless patients. It blocks researchers from doing work that can save lives.
Proposal 2 can change this situation.
Opponents say Proposal 2 opens the door to unregulated research. It won't. Proposal 2 is about joining the race for cures and treatments through ethical research that uses donated, leftover and unused embryos that would be thrown out anyway. It will allow couples to donate for research embryos that can't be used.
Medical researchers shouldn't be imprisoned or fined for working to save lives, and patients shouldn't be made to wait for cures and diseases because of an outdated law.
Proposal 2 will help patients, while at the same time strengthen Michigan's ban against cloning.
That's why I urge all citizens to vote "Yes" on Proposal 2 and open the door of hope for hundreds of thousands of patients in Michigan.
Julielyn Gibbons is a 28-year-old Lansing resident who has had Crohn's Disease since age 14.
Tuesday, October 07, 2008
But on to the serious stuff from 'The People that I like that Write' file.
Rochelle Riley, Detroit Free Press columnist and occasional NPR commentator has absolutely been on fire lately. I have to be honest, as far as a female perspective on the very real Sarah Palin problem, she's the one that I tend to agree with the most. From snarky bits like "Palin's run only setting women back' and 'Sarah Palin? Leave the race before you further hurt women' coupled with today's 'The Easy 18-Step Guide to Losing a Presidential Election' not only makes you shake your head, laugh, and savor the truth wrapped up in the bite. It's sooo good to be bad sometimes.
Andrew Heller is a columnist over at the Flint Journal that definitely doesn't get enough praise for his stuff. Today he brings up a very poignant, and some what humorous column - 'How come the Undecideds are Undecided?' which just happens to a question I've always asked myself. One of these days I'd like to ask one of these mysterious Undecideds exactly why it is they are so undecided about.
On to one of my pet issues - if you're not still not convinced why you should vote YES for Prop 2 next month for Cures for Michigan, perhaps you should check out my post on why the opposition are full of scares and that's about it.
That reminds me, with Halloween quickly approaching, you can put your progressive spirit on the right track with a Obama-riffic pumpkin from the folks at 'Yes We Carve!' and no, I'm not making that up.
If pumpkin carving isn't quite your thing, consider turning the kids out to be Trick or Treaters for Obama...and no, definitely not making that one up.
Have a great Tuesday!!
Monday, October 06, 2008
Life's been quite crazy, and yes, we've got a very big election here in 30 days. I hope you're registered or will be doing so today, since it's the last day you can.
Don't mistake my silence for non-participation, but very active participation, through work, volunteer efforts and of course, blogging.
Of very importance to me this election season is Proposition 2, which seeks to overturn the state ban on Stem Cell research in Michigan, led by the folks at Cure Michigan. I've been working hard on the issue, and as my regular readers know, it's something I've been advocating on behalf of for a very long time.
If you've been following along over at Michigan Liberal, then you probably caught my post from a couple weeks ago. I'm not going to make like a broken record and repeat myself, but I cannot stress how important it is for our state, both medically and financially that this passes. Please check out the proposal, sign up to stay informed and help out, and most importantly, vote YES on Prop 2 next month. p.s. They could really use your donation in voter education. Will you make a donation today?
Speaking of Prop 2, the Detroit News has accepted a column from me that will run sometime this week, and I'll be posting it here. Stay tuned.
Speaking of staying tuned, I'm on Twitter, check it out and follow along.
I've missed blogging, but like anything, sometimes you need to step away from it and get recharged and now it's good to be back. Expect to see more from me over the next coming weeks.
Until then, consider checking out some of the other blogs I'm reading, both political and not from various other fabulous female bloggers across the Mitten State.
The Only Baggage You Can Bring - "Where politics, pop culture, media and common sense meet and stop to have coffee and caramels. Politics-Feminism-Movies-Music-Television-Detroit-Michigan" (Samantha Grace and I like to trade blog posts, btw)
My Library Ideas - Funny, smart, snarky, and a wee peek into the lives of those mysterious academics with the sexy glasses.
The Body Chronic - Solitude, laughter, sanity and support amongst the pain and frustration of chronic illness and chronic pain.
See you back here soon!
Wednesday, June 18, 2008
Seriously though, I've got some exciting things coming up, including a guest blogger who will have a regular feature here on LLP and yes, in exchange, I'll be doing the same thing on her blog.
But while you wait with eager anticipation, I thought I'd share a couple things of interest...
Bob Alexander (new website is just about ready) is running against Crooked Congresscritter Mike Rogers in the 8th Congressional District. Huzzah!
Bob ran in 2004, and this time he's pulling out the big guns working with a winning firm out of D.C. Expect to hear more about Bob on the Tubes (i.e. this post over at BFM) and if you still need convincing Mike Rogers needs to go - stop by Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood.
I keep hearing rumors that Hilary supporters are actually considering voting for McCain vs. Barack Obama. Oy indeed!
If you or someone you know is actually considering voting for a Republican this fall, or if you just want a good laugh that will ring quite true, do yourself and them a favor by watching this and passing it along.
Thursday, May 22, 2008
I admit, I've been looking forward to this weekend for a while now. An extra long weekend to grill, sleep in, head north, have fun with friends, whatever I want. It's an extra slice of heaven waiting for me on the calendar.
How easy it is to forget why it is we get that extra day off. Memorial Day is all about honoring those veterans who protected the very things we take for granted, those who paid the ultimate price and those who made it back with the physical and emotional scars.
Tonight a story on WILX helped put things back into perspective with a twist. The story was about homeless veterans here in Michigan, not only the challenges they face, but difficulties that exist for those trying to remedy the situation.
These men and women who give up years of their life to defend and protect the rest of us come back to society only to ill-treated, whether it be through medical care, psychological counseling, job placement, and financial assistance. It's wrong for any person, but it's only worse when it happens to any of our veterans.
The daughter of a Vietnam Veteran and granddaughter of two WWII Veterans, I've seen the pride in the eyes of a veteran to have served their country honorably, but I've also seen how combat forever affects the mind and soul. It's not uncommon for me to well up with tears at a sporting event as the National Anthem is played.
So enjoy your weekend and your extra day off. You probably deserve it. But just as with any holiday, take care to truly remember the reason behind the season. Take a moment to pause and reflect on those whose day it truly is and thank a veteran, not just on Monday, but on any day. We owe them more than we'll probably ever realize.
(Stay tuned as tomorrow I'll be featuring ways that you can help veterans locally, a story on how one veteran who wants to fight for you here in Michigan, and how our lawmakers are helping veterans all across the state.)
Tuesday, April 29, 2008
I've always thought that government was supposed to be about making life better for others, but have regretted that it doesn't actually happen as much as it should. It's why men and women like you and I step up and decide to become public servants. It's not an easy life and for those who actually serve the people as opposed to powerful special interests, it can often be a thankless one.
So when a real public servant steps up, it's exciting news that deserves recognition. True, I've known and respected this particular public servant since I was in high school when we both came to Lansing to learn what it meant to serve the people, but he deserves it all the same.
Curtis Hertel Jr. is currently an Ingham County Commissioner serving East Lansing. He's a regular working guy, trying to make a good life for himself, his wife, and their two young kids and has seen how hard it can be for some.
That's why he's running for Register of Deeds of Ingham County.
“The role of Register of Deeds in Ingham County is absolutely critical to ensuring the accessibility and security of Ingham County property records,” Hertel said. “In the 21st Century, these two issues are even more important, and I believe that my long experience as a county commissioner makes me an ideal candidate to continue to deliver essential services to the residents of Ingham County.”While the position may be a bit foreign to some, it makes sense to have someone you can trust to look out for the safety and security of your personal property records. But that's not all. Hertel is also looking to expand the technology in the office for better accessibility and to promote financial literacy to Ingham County residents like you and I, and who couldn't use a little extra knowledge on that subject?
If you're interested in helping out the campaign, check out his website, donate, volunteer, and I look forward to seeing you out there knocking a few doors!
Wednesday, April 23, 2008
We showed up, laptops and if we had them, business cards in tow. We had no idea quite what to expect other than Donna Brazile as the keynote speaker. We met hundreds of people, papered them all with info about MichiganLiberal and the miracles of the Intertubes.
I walked away highly impressed. Progressives from all walks of life and issues got together and set a progressive agenda for the state. It sounded good, but when I started seeing visible movement on that agenda in the coming months, I was really impressed.
The Michigan Policy Summit moved some serious mountains in it's first year. Now in it's second year, the possibility for even more incredible change is quite likely. With keynote speakers like national activists Jim Hightower and Amy Goodman, a large contingent of bloggers from the state's most prominent blogs (MichLib, BloggingforMichigan, and West MI Rising, just to name a few), my favorite local progressive bookstore - Everybody Reads LLC and some other truly impressive names from the state's progressive leaders I don't think anyone will be let down.
I'll be there again as well. This time I'll be working with the great Policy Summit team through my employer. We're cooking up something cool to bring folks through the Internet and I'm excited for the entire package.
If you can make it on Saturday May 10th, you should definitely come. I was attempting to describe it to someone unfamiliar with it and struggling for an apt descriptor. Suddenly the light bulb went on and in true Michigan fashion I explained that it was like the Auto Show of Michigan progressives. The more I thought about it, I agree with it even more.
So if you're free, and you can spare $30 for a day that could change the way you look at issues here in Michigan, stop on by and join us.
There's a lot to be said for the need in ethics and integrity in politics and blogging. I've always prided myself on trying to maintain high standards of each and I credit that goal with my success as a political blogger.
I got involved in politics and blogging because most of my life has been spent fighting a chronic illness that has brought many policy issues to life. My illness has shaped not only who I am, but also my professional life.
I'm going to keep blogging about the issues that I feel strongly about here when it's appropriate, and that I'm going to always disclose my work affiliation if it's needed in addition to the permanent disclaimer at the bottom of this blog.
My work on some of the other blogs has been and will be more limited in part because of my career, part by personal reasons. This blogging thing is in my blood, it's a part of who I am, and no matter what I do, what I experience, I feel that Liberal Lucy will always there.
Since entering the world of Internet activism (circa 2001, which makes me practically ancient) so much has changed. It's been absolutely amazing to chronicle how the Internet has changed the face of politics by so many.
Here in Michigan, there's definitely been a blog boom, and our state, our political process has been all the more richer for it. I'm proud to be a small part of it, but even prouder to have had a role in introducing the political internet to so many. That "Aha! Moment" as I call it, when someone discovers this whole new world literally laying at their fingertips. A vehicle for their voice, a medium for a wanted message, a community of their own. It still gives me goosebumps.
For now, I feel as if I'm still supposed to be a part of that constant change, and I'm going to continue to do so. I'm human like the rest of us, and sometimes change can be difficult to accept, but like most things, we usually end up richer for it in the end. A fellow blogger and friend reminded me recently on her own blog that some of the hardest things to go through can end up being some of the best for each of us.
So there's been a lot of change, and there will surely be more to come. This electronic evolution is far from over, and the same goes for my role in it all, no matter the path.
April of 1998 found me in one long hospitalization following 40-50 previous stays in the couple years before. My immune system practically gone, my veins shot from all the tests and IVs, my digestive tract resembling something you might see on Mars. My high school classmates thought me moved, sick with leukemia, or just - gone. My parents, my siblings, my doctors feared for my life. I thought I was terminally ill, but damnedably determined to graduate that year with the rest of my class, even if it took my dying breath.
I had just played guinea pig for the last time, trying out the latest chemical cocktail approved by the FDA, only to nearly die from an allergic reaction. It was official. The doctors were out of options, afraid of what would happen if I got any sicker.
The first time they spoke to me about ostomy surgery I cringed outwardly and inwardly. My own idea of what it was so horrid, so different, so opposite of what it really was. I knew that it was my only option, inside I knew I wouldn't get better without it but I couldn't handle the thought of living with it outside of the fact that it could keep me alive. Honestly I didn't care, I just wanted to graduate, and if that meant having a "temporary" ileostomy, then sign me up.
My coping mechanism was convincing myself that it would be reversed, and I'd go back to being "normal", which meant no ostomy. I suspect that I always knew that it'd never be the case, that I was just too sick, and that I was playing a zero-sum game with a horribly diseased colon and rectum. One of us was done, and it wasn't going to be me.
Obviously, that wasn't the case. I had the temporary loop ileostomy without having any organs removed. Follow that a year later with a partial (four and half feet of the six) removal of the colon two days before my birthday, and six months after that, the total procto-colectomy with the remaining colon and the rectum out.
After the inital surgery it took me literally years to be able to look at myself in the mirror, to accept that was who I was, and too many more years to embrace who I am. I'm still not completely over that hill yet, but without a doubt, there's a light at the end of the tunnel.
Ten years ago I would have barely recognized myself now.
All that I am has been greatly influenced by being an ileostomate these last ten years. I'm proud of who I am. I'm passionate, political, witty, geeky, funny, smart, loving, involved and many other things that make up who I am today.
Ten years has been a long time, a tough road, and while I'm still a bit surprised I've made it that far, I wouldn't change a thing, especially the fact that I live with an ostomy. It truly is a badge of honor.
I say that only half-joking. I've been absent from blogging for a while due to a couple of issues, but just like most of my other absences, I believe I've come back richer for it. When I'm not blogging, I get very introspective, start thinking about issues in new and different ways than the norm. I like to think it makes these electronic musings all the better.
There's much to say, but I think it's best broken up. So read on to the next post or pick one that sounds interesting and as always, thanks for stopping by.
Monday, March 24, 2008
I don't live in SE Michigan anymore, and even when I did, I never technically lived in the city of Detroit. But don't think I didn't care what happened in Detroit, and don't think that I still don't care what happens in Detroit.
I had the pleasure of working in downtown Detroit for well over a year and while I hated the rush-hour commute to my home in the suburbs, I loved working in the city. The sights, the smells, the tastes, the people, the noise, the entire experience that was Detroit was great. Even the unpleasant part was still an experience that shouldn't be missed.
Working there and visiting there for conferences, events, friends, and everything in between only furthered my love of the city. Say what you want, there are very few places like Detroit and I think all of us should experience Detroit at least once in our lives, because if nothing else, it's a part of Michigan, and a part of who we are as a people and a state.
For me, Detroit is a great underdog story, and there's nothing I love more than a good underdog to root for. It's the perfect candidate because while it lacks much now, you need only look back to what it was (pre-1967) and you see what it could be. There are so many people now moving back, and there's a lot of revitalizing going on, and so many more who are starting to look toward investing in the city, whether it be through a business or a home. There's just so much promise, and I'm tired of feeling that for every two steps the city takes forward, there's another three back.
It's exactly that kind of defeatist attitude that has caused so much of the flight and blight that has brought Detroit down. The city has made progress, a lot of it, but there's still so much to be made. Kwame Kilpatrick was a fresh voice for the city, and I think most of the state was relieved to see him be brought on when he first got elected. But now, well, now it's time to continue to put the city first. Regardless of these charges, they are a massive black eye on the city, and the entire Text-Gate episode has stolen the show from the real player, the city itself.
So let's get back to business, put the drama where it belongs, off to the side, and let's focus on moving the city of Detroit forward with the hope, dedication, and promise that it deserves because it's so much more than just one man and his legal troubles. When Detroit moves forward, Michigan moves forward, and we all benefit in the end.
Tuesday, March 18, 2008
If I hadn't had my colon removed eight years ago, my risk for developing colon cancer would have been five-times higher than most of the rest of you. Don't forget that colon cancer is the third most common form of cancer and the second deadliest of all the different types of cancer, so make sure you get that colonoscopy, because it's almost the most preventable of all the cancers. (Take it from a girl who's been through enough colonoscopies to keep her doctors fat and happy for the rest of their lives, they're not that bad.)
All that aside, because of some of the medicines I was on and complications/side effects of the disease, I'm now at an increased risk for other types of cancers like lymphoma and cervical/ovarian cancer. Go figure.
But I digress.
I've been following the blog of a fellow Michigander that despite having never met, I feel quite a bond with, and need to thank. Jodi Wilson was 26 when she was diagnosed with breast cancer last October. She's also a page designer over at the Detroit News and bravely decided to share her entire journey with us from start to what we all hope will be victorious finish. Her blog over at the paper is appropriately titled The Breast Monologues.
Jodi's been brutally honest with her readers, and for that I applaud her. It's not easy bearing your vulnerable side to the exhibitionist world we live in, especially when you're talking about losing various parts of your body that society still hasn't completely come to term with. Trust me, I know all about it.
Sometimes it's darn right hard for me to read her words, because flashbacks of my own days of pain and hospital stays and depression often rush back in a way that make my head spin and my heart race. I try to put a positive spin on it just to keep things balanced - remind myself how far I've come, how I've now had almost 4 years hospital-free. How long ago it all seems, and yet like it was just yesterday.
She recently opted to have a mastectomy and as expected, it brought an awful storm of memories back. My surgeon warned me for months that I'd be better off if I just decided to completely remove my then partial-colon and rectum and at the ripe age of 20, I couldn't even begin to imagine what life would be like physically un-whole. It didn't matter that I was in the hospital multiple times a month, or that I had a deeper relationship with my doctors and nurses on 6 North than I did with my best friends. I was 20 years old, and if I wasn't whole, what life could possibly exist for me out there in the big scary world?
Obviously logic wasn't part of my thinking, and those wiser than I knew that it was a decision I had to come to on my own. I was actually more worried about meeting Mr. Right, getting married and being loved by someone else than I was living, and looking back now, that terrifies me.
It took nearly spending Christmas in the hospital (I got a 24 hour reprieve) before I finally woke up. My then-boyfriend literally had to tell me that he'd still love me despite my missing organs before I was ready to sign on the dotted line and go under the knife. I think about it now and it breaks my heart.
Looking back now at the many scars that line my abdomen and various other parts of the body and what those scars represent in both physical and emotional pain and victory, it's amazing to think that I was that insecure person so long ago.
It's easy for me to go through my daily life and occasionally not really remember everything I've undergone. My scars and my ileostomy are my only real daily reminders. All of my other physical reminders like my weight, my fatigue, my daily pain from the chronic kidney stones, I've just grown used too. I don't like them, I try hard to remedy what's able to be remedied, particularly my weight as of late, but I just deal, because in the end, I'm alive when I probably shouldn't be.
But when I read a post of Jodi's and I'm thrown back into a different time of my life, a personal Mt. Everest that I'm still attempting to climb, and it terrifies me in a way that I need to experience every once in a while. It reminds me of what I've overcome, how much further I still have to go, and my duty to keep paying it forward to others. It's one of the reasons I still blog and despite working in a field that can get nastier than most, it's why I stay true to myself and others. Because in the end, it really does take one to know oneself.
Friday, March 14, 2008
That being the case, I love many artists but I have a Top 5 and right at the top is a group that mainstream society still hasn't quite caught on too, and why is anyone's guess, but consider tonight's sampling an intro to a group that could change the way you look at music.
Bela Fleck and the Flecktones might sound like a group that caters to kids, but I assure you it's anything but. Bela himself has literally revolutionized the way people think of the banjo and if you have heard of him, it's probably through his well-known jam sessions with the Dave Matthews Band. Joining him are brothers Victor Wooten and his brother Futureman. Victor is highly regarded as one of the world's best bassists, and Futureman is right up there as a percussionist, but he doesn't sit in front of his drum set, he wears around his shoulder, just like a guitar or a banjo. No joke. This guy has literally designed a one-of-a-kind instrument that allows him to do all the percussion standing up jamming with the rest of the group. Though 95% of the group's music is vocal-free, Futureman has contributed vocals for several tracks throughout the years. Jeff Coffin is recognized as a top performer and composer of the sax (all types) and most other woodwinds, including the flute and clarinet, among others.
While playing as a group, each also pursues solo careers and together they've revolutionized the way many, including myself look and think about the boundaries of music.
Below is perhaps one of their best known songs, A Moment So Close and I love this performance so much I own the video of this concert taped in 2005. Featured are Tuvan throat singer Kongar-ol Odnar, hailing from Mongolia where he's been trained to be able to hit three notes at once, something that just boggles the mind. The Flecktones are also joined with a kettle drum, bassoon, oboe, and that's Jeff Coffin on a soprano saxophone (that looks like a clarinet) and Sandip Burman, a tabla player from India. If it sounds like a strange group, it is, but once you listen and watch you'll be just amazed as I was.
The second selection tonight is from the same album, same group of performers, and this one is titled Hoedown, featuring some of Sandip Burman's amazing skills.
And we round out the selection with another from the album - Earth Jam. If you want to seem some truly amazing skills and some serious jamming, you won't want to miss this.
Here's hoping your weekend is as sweet as the melodies above!
The following information was sent out to her constituents by State Senator Gretchen Whitmer, one of the distinguished politicans interviewed in the 41 minute film -
EAST LANSING - Michael Rubyan, a pre-med student at the University of Michigan, was so moved by a class presentation about stem cell research that he decided to make a movie about it.
"Life is for the Living," a documentary film directed by Michael Rubyan, a junior majoring in film, will be featured at the East Lansing Film Festival on Sunday, March 16, 12 p.m., in Wells Hall on the Michigan State University campus in East Lansing.
The 60-minute film highlights the touching - both painful and hopeful - stories of six families struggling with incurable diseases and includes appearances by CBS's Mike Wallace, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno, Gov. Jennifer Granholm, and others.
Rubyan produced the documentary to highlight the importance of moving forward on promising and potentially life-saving medical research.
"'Life is for the Living' was created to educate the public about the complex issues surrounding embryonic stem cell research," Rubyan said.
"The film seeks to explain the issue from four different perspectives - the people, the politics, the science and the hope."
The film presents the stories of six American families living with the painful realities of diseases such as juvenile diabetes, Parkinson's and spinal cord injury. It is set against the national debate over embryonic stem cell research and features three generations discussing their frustration with President Bush's restrictions and their hope that more funding for embryonic stem cell research will relieve suffering and perhaps even save lives.
"Life is for the Living" also explores the science behind stem cell research and the political debate taking place across the country, as well as here in Michigan. More than 15 political leaders were interviewed, including Reno; Granholm; Michigan U.S. Sen. Carl Levin; Dr. Sean Morrison, director of the UM Center for Stem Cell Biology; and Dr. David T. Scadden, co-director of the Harvard Stem Cell Institute.
View the trailer and learn more at www.lifeisfortheliving.org
For a complete list of films featured at the East Lansing Film Festival visit their site.
If you have the opportunity to check it out this film or any of the other 93 films at this record-setting film festival, between now and Thursday, March 20th, you should definitely a point of it!
Friday, February 29, 2008
That's right. I am Emily, and so are you. Don't ever forget that.
Thursday, February 28, 2008
The event is open to all as we pay tribute to the life and legacy of Robert Busby, "Mayor of Old Town". For more information, check out Old Town's website.
Wednesday, February 27, 2008
It's hard to believe it's already been a year since you left us. Your number is still in my phone, and I still can't bring myself to remove it.
The painting that we playfully argued over before I finally bought it has yet to be hung. I'm afraid that the moment it goes up, I'll forget the fun we had debating whose wall it would look better on. You could have outbid me and snatched it from right under my nose, but you were so excited at the prospect of me building a collection, I always knew you'd let me have it. It's a beautifully bold painting that we discussed over coffee at Portable Feast at the table near the staircase as Sharon darted back and forth nearby to her customers.
There are still so many memories, so vibrant, so full of life, just like you were, that linger. We knew each other less than a year, but you were ambassador, mayor, welcoming committee, and chief architect all rolled into one incredible, beautiful soul.
You saw a girl, who despite her bubbly demeanor and wide circle of friends, was looking for a community to call her own, to plant some roots, and find a home that was more than just four walls and roof. You took me in with your warm smile and contagious laugh, and you showed me exactly what community meant. It didn't matter that you didn't know too much about me, or my faults, you introduced me to others like we had been friends for the last five years.
You taught so many the true meaning of community, both on the physical and cerebral levels. You loved and gave of yourself without question to everyone, rich, poor, black, white, gay, straight. Your greatest gift was the example that you set, living every day to it's fullest without regrets and always remembering that in the end, we're all human and life is too short not to live like it's your last day on earth. Did you know something we didn't?
Even after you left, the community remains bonded together in grief, in celebration of our progress and growth, and deep friendships welded together that will withstand the test of time. We're there, and while you're not, your legacy remains, twisted in sorrow and love. We couldn't have made it without you, and no matter where we find ourselves in the future, I still miss you, friend.
(photo credit: Patrick T. Power)
Tuesday, February 26, 2008
WJIM 1240 AM and it's morning show host, Michael Patrick Shiels has offered the host's chair to none other than MI Republican Party Chair Saul Anuzis himself. According to Anuzis' so-called blog (it's the Republican version, so no one's allowed to comment besides The Chairman himself) he'll be hosting the show which runs from 5:30 am to 10 a.m. tomorrow (Wednesday) morning. He also brags about his featured guests, Newt Gingrich and Karl Rove, and yes you read that correctly, the evil dark overlord of dirty republican tactics himself will be on. In my circles, we call that noise pollution.
Radio stations are licensed and regulated by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) which are paid for with our tax dollars. As a wise commenter posted this thought -
Unless an elected official, there's no reason why publicly-owned airwaves should be used to the advantage of a single political party. Licensees should be serving the greater public good, not just a narrow band of consumers. It's not as if the publicly-owned airwaves aren't already overwhelmingly controlled by a single political ideology, but a single political party?They're right. It shouldn't matter if this was a Democratic party official or Republican like The Chairman. Public airwaves are just that, and last time I checked, we don't have to be force-fed any kind of propaganda.
One might even think that a station's licensing should be evaluated for this kind of behavior.
If you'd like to protect Lansing's airwaves from blatant ethical and regulatory violations, file a complaint with the FCC here, and tell WJIM to stop their switch to WGOP here.
Friday, February 22, 2008
I think that's representative of life, often we require a song, a touch, a taste, something other than words to speak to us and to speak to others. My life the last two months is no different. I realize that my "writer's block" is not a writer's block at all. I've just been going the wrong way about expressing it.
In the end, the following collage only has to make sense to one person, so don't feel at a loss if you're confused. Enjoy the beauty, the talent, the story.
1. Takidani Train Station
3. nominal help
4. Amber Glow
6. Taking out the Trash
7. Day 230: sitting.waiting.wishing
8. Joy to the World
10. The Feeling of Accomplishment
~Unfortunately this software doesn't allow for more than one photo to be posted, otherwise I would have just included them all..
Friday, February 08, 2008
It's just one of several restaurants that I make a habit of sampling in Old Town. Golden Harvest is only open for breakfast or lunch and their breakfasts are not to be missed. It reminds me of the local diner where the old men congregate and talk shop and you watch your food cooked on the grill right in front of you, but there's a funky twist to the place that makes it all it's own. Last time I was in there I dined on some truly excellent eggs over easy with bacon, toast, and hash browns with some kickin' hot sauce as Beastie Boys played on the radio overhead.
So yes, the old men come and talk shop, but so do the college kids, the artists, the stay-at-home moms, and bloggers like me, looking for great food and a true Old Town experience.
Monday, January 28, 2008
I think it started with a Stabenow v. Bouchard debate way back in the days of the '06 Election Cycle when I thought it would be fun. It was fun, but it was also physically draining. Fingers flying a million miles trying to keep up with what's being said and all the while trying to stay somewhat grammatically correct, well let's just put it this way, I was never cut out to be a court reporter.
But live-blogging is a big part of who I am as a blogger and as an activist. Live-blogging from the Capitol during the Budget Crisis was incredibly physically draining, but I was on an emotional high, even when I would have been excited to watch paint dry I was so bored. To be on the sidelines of history, to experience the action, to feel the tension, to capture the decisiveness between the players, to be part of the cognizant Stockholm Syndrome that everyone eventually gave into, the whole thing was incredibly thrilling.
So Tuesday night I'll head back to what I know and a home away from home, the State House. Under the beautifully lit dome stalwart in the crisp air, I'll be live-blogging the Governor's State of the State address. It will probably be hot, stressful, cramped, and very close quarters with the rest of the press, but it will definitely be thrilling and another experience I won't ever forget. Join me next door at MichLib or peek through the curtains of BFM because I'll finally be joined by a fellow blogger and one of my mentors from way back in the day, Christine Barry from BFM. I'm excited for the message, anticipating the atmosphere and ready for this event to signal a new year and a new time in Michigan politics.
For those of you hanging around the Michigan Lefty blogosphere as of late, there's been a lot of drama, ridiculousness, and all-around b.s. Not one to need any additional drama in my life, I stayed out of it. I had the excuse of settling into a new job and the continual job of dealing with my health. The few times when all the drama grew to a particularly egregious level and I attempted to broker peace, I only got burned in the process, so I strayed even farther away. In the process I learned a couple new life lessons for which I'm grateful but could have done without the accompanying mess. The whole episode left me burned out, uninspired, and I really wasn't able to blog. For me, blogging has always been from the heart and something that brought me joy, and while I could have thrown just anything up, that's not who I am, so I refrained.
To be honest, the whole process of live-blogging from the State House back in September/October left me quite burned out. I joke that it is 8 days or so of my life I'll never get back. The truth is the entire thing was an incredible lesson in politicking. To be embedded there, with a front seat ticket to it all, well, that is something that no amount of money can ever buy. I feel incredibly blessed to have been part of it. I'm also honored to have been the first blogger credentialed in the State Capitol.
While I was there I also was battling a huge kidney stone, something that I'm pleased to report has shrunken in size and in the amount of pain it causes thanks to a procedure, but now has been joined by a fellow stone, so it continues to keeps life interesting, which I have also learned to expect nothing but.
Since the Budget Crisis, I've started a new job and gained a new realization. I love my job. Honestly, how many people can say they truly love their job? I also realize I'm part of a very small part of the world that can say that, so not a day goes by that I'm not thankful for the opportunity to continue doing what I love but to also be making a difference while I do it.
With cautious optimism that I hope to say I'm back, and mean it. Perhaps the blogosphere is going through it's petulant adolescent stage, something that I remember going through myself and still amazed that my parents didn't disown me. I believe the concept is called Tough Love. Part of me misses the blogosphere of '06, before the drama, before the b.s., when we were a tight-knit small group of seemingly self-described revolutionaries. Of course, I think about how far it's all come, how many more people are engaged, how practically the entire political landscape of the state has been changed in some way or another by the Internet and I stare in awe. Hopefully we're past these annoying growing pains and on to our next incredible victory. And with that, I'm looking forward to getting back to the clickety-clack of this old keyboard, the worn leather of this old chair, and the experience that is progressive online politics in Michigan.